When the aim of art is to show off the artist, it cheapens itself. The artist must express what is inside him, not parade his physique.
— Zohra Segal, Close Up: Memoirs Of A Life On Stage & Screen.
I admit I didn’t know much about Karla Singh until I met her at Raell Padamsee’s place when ‘Pearl’s Gang’ was rehearsing for a tribute show almost exactly two years ago. She seemed like a real fun person, with a great sense of humour so I assumed she must be an actor. Only later in the evening I figured that she was there as a dancer-choreographer, like she’d been there for many of Pearl’s productions. Karla’s sense of humour was even more evident when I met her last year at the final rehearsal of One Out Of Six. She was on a roll with Bugs Bhargava, Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijaykar. The anecdotes the four of them recalled ought to have been recorded but they probably would offend too many people. I loved the mad energy of that backstage.
The note for Karla’s workshop at NCPA’s Summer Fiesta — DANCE & MOVEMENT — doesn’t say much but knowing her I’m sure it’ll be loads of fun. That is why, the need for the time machine to make me a 6-year-old.
Ok I’ve realised it’s impossible to watch a play a day but the commitment to being an audience member continues this week with AkVarious Week At Prithvi. So, I intend to catch at least three of their plays this week. I’ve also managed to acquire august company to watch the plays!
Get all the dope here
Find out the similarity between Akarsh Khurana and Ekta Kapoor. Something I dug out from the Midday archives…
Coming up this week: How I became a Dastango…
Playwright-director Vikram Kapadia introduces the eight characters from his newest play
“To set the record straight, Black With Equal premiered in 2002 and had a run until 2007, so it’s not like I haven’t seen the stage in 10 years.”
– Vikram Kapadia, on his comeback to playwrighting
With Bombay Talkies, Vikram Kapadia says he makes the character enter a House of Mirrors and the audience is witness to their distorted – sometimes funny, sometimes eery – images. Vikram built the play from a single monologue that he had written for an event to remember victims of the 26/11 terror attack. He added seven more monologues to make Bombay Talkies into a full length production. “The play is about us, now and here. The language is idiomatic and holds on to the local flavour,” says the playwright, before he goes on to introduce his characters to us.
Relationship Status is about a single mother grappling with loneliness and being taken for granted. The Herculean effort she puts in to bring up her children is simply ignored and building a meaningful relationship from scratch is also not easy.
Namit’s story — US Visa — is one of the monologues that isn’t very dark and unsettling. Vikram calls it a “sweet, romantic piece’ about a young man standing in the queue for a visa to the United States of America.
Ideas is about a victim of abuse, not physical, but subtle psychological abuse. She is very creative and tries to prove her worth within the family but is more than often put down by her husband.
Devika Shahani Punjabi
Wonderland is about a jaded journalist who thrives on the calamities the country faces. Eventually her conscience gets the better of her, she puts in her papers and rediscovers the positive in the society. Vikram considers this one his most positive piece.
Viraf Phiroz Patel
Seven Tiles is about a successful corporate-type who turns into a by lane of Bandra to juxtapose memories of growing up there in a bungalow vis a vis his current apartment further north of the city. “Growing up is also a euphemism for sex in this piece,” Vikram says.
In The Uprising, Zafar Karachiwala is contemplating suicide because he cannot live in the Mumbai of the 22nd century. In his society, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is in charge of oxygen supply. Isn’t it a wonder Mumbai manages to survive another century even?
Catch Bombay Talkies on April 14 and 15, 7 pm at Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point. Call: +91-22-2282 4567 / +91-22-6622 3724
Get your child to vanquish evil, the Natyashastra way, with a little help from one of my most favourite actors from the Mumbai theatre scene — Suruchi Aulakh
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(Please excuse the low res image)
So the Theatre Project continues this week..
Awishkar’s Ghar Baar is a one-act play that peeps into the lives of two senior citizens in a live-in relationship. Their travails are revealed through lovely banter and poignant moments. The middle class Maharashtrian’s need to validate his identity through his language is tackled yet again on stage and so are issues related to empty nest syndrome. The play is sincere as most Awishkar productions are, yet not particularly innovative. The only exception being the use of a sutradhar-cum-set designer, who helps lighten the mood between scenes. The lead actors are endearing in most scenes but fall short in the intense sequences, despite shedding tears. Perhaps a more age-appropriate cast would be better suited to the play. Then again it doesn’t help that the protagonist wears a baby pink Cherokee T-shirt with an upturned collar. It takes more than just whitening your hair to appear old, na.